In his breaking news coverage of Robin Williams’ suicide on Monday, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith wondered if cowardice impelled Williams to kill himself. Yesterday, Smith apologized “to the end of the Earth to anyone who might think that I meant to openly call him a coward.” So was Smith saying he should have just privately said it?
This is what Shepard Smith said about Robin Williams during coverage of his death:
It’s hard to imagine isn’t it? You could love three little things (Williams’ children) so much, watch them grow and they’re in their mid-20s, and they’re inspiring you and exciting you, and they fill you up with the kind of joy you could never have known. And yet, something inside you is so horrible, or you’re such a coward, or whatever the reason that you decide you have to end it.
I was just wondering aloud what could have made this man want to end it all. And it reminds us that we all have responsibility as friends and neighbors to help take responsibility to prevent this from happening. There are people who process suicide as a black-and white-issue. I don’t process anything as black-and-white.
…Look at what this family is going through. I would never presume to know anything about his private life. And if any of his family members and friends were to have seen me use the word “coward,” I would be horrified. I would just to apologize to the end of the earth to anyone who might think that I meant to openly call him a coward.
To the core of my being, I regret it. It just came out of my mouth. And I’m so sorry. And to anyone and their families who see that, I am sorry. (emphases mine)
Smith did not take back his conjecture that cowardice led Williams to kill himself. He said he regretted saying it openly and possibly offending a family member.
But if the Mediaite interviewer noticed, she let it go. She unquestioningly posted that Williams “apologized for using the word ‘coward’ and tried to clarify what he meant.”
Watch Smith's original comments below.
Robin Williams was only 3½ months older than I, so we kind of grew up together, although I never became addicted to anything, I related to his need to self-medicate to try anything to escape the horrors going on inside his head.
The impertinant comments of the likes of Shep, and (OMG) Rushblow piss me off tremendously. They have no idea what it’s like to live with “The black dog,” as Winston Churchill refered to his depression, and the struggle to put on a public face to hide behind. Many comedians are depression/anxiety sufferers who chose comedy to alleviate the pain. I did for most of my life and when I admit now, as an adult, that it was a facade, most people are shocked.
34 years ago a friend of mine hung himself and before he did he mailed a letter to our local Los Angeles Police Department station and Fire Department explaining to them what he did, where he hid to key for them to enter and for them to retrieve his body because he didn’t want his family or friends to find him first. He never did leave a note on why he decided to end his life. For years it was a mystery to all of us but we came to the conclusion that he was suffering from depression that he hid because back in 1980 it was something thought of as a weakness not a medical condition.
I’ll show my age here but Robin Williams’ death reminds me of another comedian who committed suicide in 1977, Freddie Prinze who also fought with depression and addiction.
All of us can relate to feeling depressed at some point in our lives, but sometimes it can be misdiagnosed as temporary frustration or disappointment. The difference is while some can overcome the feeling of despair, many can’t.
I hope you have a great family and friends Janet who are there for you with understanding and support. If not you always have us…I hope that made you smile.
Depression is a disease for which there is no cure, only methods and medications to slightly alleviate, but never completely eradicate the sadness and helplessness you feel.
Yes, I am sending this to Shep’s webpage, and anywhere else I see anyone repeating his disgusting words. He is not sorry one iota.